Part 4 of Shirata’s Essay: Aikido as Aikido cont.

Short Topic Introduction (Feel free to skip this if you read last week’s)

Due to the esoteric terms, analogies, and metaphors that Ueshiba Morihei commonly used in his lectures, many, if not most, of the individuals present at his lectures stated that they could not understand what it was he was talking about. These statements were so ubiquitous, that it became commonly assumed, or common “knowledge,” that nobody could understand Ueshiba Morihei’s lectures.

This is a rather convenient assumption, isn’t it? It allows for the re-interpretation, and translation of, his message, by all that followed afterward. If one understood his lectures and could explain them, the bar would be raised for all others that attended the lectures to show an equivalent level of understanding, or suffer loss of face. If one understood his lectures and could explain them, the die would be cast. There would be Ueshiba Morihei’s explanation of Aikido, and everyone else’s.

Shirata Rinjiro was a pioneer in the early days of Aikido. He taught in Ueshiba Morihei’s place at Omoto’s paramilitary branch, the Budo Senyokai. He taught in Ueshiba’s Osaka dojo, and at the Asahi Dojo in Osaka. Shirata was around for the publishing of Aiki Jujujutsu Densho, which later was renamed Budo Renshu. And, he also took ukemi for Ueshiba in the 1935 film Budo. Before being called up to become the Commander of a Division in the war, Shirata was tapped by Ueshiba to become a ‘Professor of Aikido’ at the University in Manchukuo. (Tomiki Kenji went to Manjukuo instead.) After the war, he was repatriated to Japan. And in time, he was eventually called back into Aikido service by his teacher Ueshiba Morihei. Ueshiba asked him to look after, and support, his son Kisshomaru. So, he became head of the Tohoku region, head of Yamagata prefecture, and President of the International Aikido Federation, for a time. Unlike Tomiki, Mochitsuki, and Shioda senseis, Shirata chose not to distance himself from, and continued to work in support of, his teacher Ueshiba Morihei and the Ueshiba family throughout his life.

:In the last years of his life, Shirata sensei both wrote and taught until he could no longer do so. During this time, he finished the katas that were the summation of his study of Sho Chiku Bai Ken and Jo. He also wrote the essay that will be presented over the next several weeks.


The continuation of Shirata Rinjiro’s essay translated from:

Renewal Through Keiko

Create A New Self With Daily Keiko[i]

Shirata Rinjirō, Kaichō, Tōhoku Aikidō Renmei

Misogi ©1992 Yamagata Ken Aikidō Renmaei and Tōhoku Aikidō Renmei

Part 4 of Shirata’s Essay (I apologize in advance for the irregular formatting. Mr. Walker’s formatting was spot on, but somehow between transferring that, to WordPress, and then WordPress automatically formatting for computer, tablet, and phone, the formatting gets a bit rough. It seems to read best on computer, and worst on phone.)


Aikidō as Aikidō continued:

4. The noncompetitive way 争わざる道
The non-resistance principle 無抵抗主義
The invincible way 不敗の道
The way that extinguishes belligerence 闘争心消滅の道

5. The way of True Victory, Self Victory 正勝吾勝の道
The budō that is the Divine Martial Art that does not Kill 神武不殺の武道
The budō of living together 相生の武道
The budō that lets the opponent live 相手を生かす武道
The completely victorious way 完全勝利の道

6. War is Love 武は愛也
The budō of Misogi みそぎの武道
The soul calming budō 鎮魂の武道
Dōka: The divine work of ki calms the soul. God(s) of heaven and earth please guide us in the art of misogi.
気のみわざ 魂の鎮めや みそぎ技 導き給え天地の神

7. Budō that is prayer.
In a prayer for peace, pray for the happiness of all as if the world has been tied together with aiki; which was the founder’s purpose for building the Aiki Shrine in Iwama. The founder’s selfless prayer, morning noon and night. Even today the founder’s room is adorned with three photographs that are enshrined for worship: The Emperor Meiji (Meiji the Great in military dress), Taishō, and Emperor Shōwa in Japanese court dress. It is a prayer celebrating their imperial lives for the prosperity of Japan.

Personal opinion. Consider the ideas in The Book of Five Rings that are related to the divine spirit of the master swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi. In novels it says that Musashi was awakened by the priest Takuan, but the master swordsman of Hayashizaki Iaijutsu prayed at the Shinmei Shrine and awakened. The founder of Yōshin ryu prayed to Hachiman sama and had the inspiration of Yōshin ryu.

The founder studied under Ōmoto kyō teacher Deguchi Onisaburō and from deep study of “the way of the gods” and bujutsu training had the realization “war is love.” He preached the love of the great cosmos and the love of the created universe. He preached the mysterious influence of ichirei niki sangen shikon hachiriki that is the living foundation of the activity of Genkō Ōmioya Ōkami, the mysterious effect of the reverberation of the kotodama of the cosmos, and the original occult mystery of the cosmic creation of heaven and earth.

Furthermore, for human salvation, humans are children of the kami; the cadet line of the kami. Humans are by nature kami. The three worlds of life, the afterlife and the divine, all things in flux through the endless cycle of rebirth, human existence living continuously without extinction, and the past, present, and future divinity existing together.

The kami protect us and guide us toward improvement and realization, unifying the divine and humankind. Confucius’ philosophy perceived unexplored truths and established the condition of imperturbable religiosity in the human spirit.

Furthermore, he preached that all creation has the same origin. A snowflake and a huge boulder exhibit universal benevolence. There are no people created above others and no one is created below everyone else; the highest kami creates all things. The mysterious effect of all and everything as a singular spirit proclaims that there is nothing that is not dependent on the creation of the kami. All and everything is in the hand of the highest kami.

Dōka
The beautiful shape of heaven and earth is a single household made by the lord.
美しきこの天地の御姿は主の創りし一家なりけり

ALLEN DEAN BEEBE’S COMMENTARY

We pick up where we left off: 1 – 3 of “Aikido as Aikido” were about Unification via In/Yo and Ten Chi Ji. 4 – 5 of “Aikido as Aikido” are going to be focused on “Non-resistance,” 6–7 will be about “Bu as Love” and Shirata will conclude this section with a “A personal opinion” piece. His labeling this “personal opinion” is important because it implies that the rest is NOT personal opinion, but rather Ueshiba’s teaching. Again, he is following the pattern that he laid out at the beginnning:

The essence of Aikido is becoming one with the universe or unification.
Aikido is non-resistance.
As Aikido is one with the universe and non-resistant, there is no conflict. Therefore, the Way of Aiki is always victorious, and (in this sense) Bu is Love.
Please note that this pattern follows the “Ichi Rei (one spirit), Ni Ki (two Ki), San Gen (Three Origin)” pattern.

It is pretty easy to see the parallel between “Ichi Rei” and “Universe.” In fact, Ueshiba would quote from the book of John:

John 1King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

He took this quote as an explication and affirmation of, not only, Kotodama in general, but Kotodama’s teaching of Genesis.

Next comes “Ni Ki.” This takes a little more thought to understand. “Ni Ki” is the Universe as “In/Yo.” “In” and “Yo” are mutually dependent, co arising, opposites. Because they are opposite, most individuals assume they are in conflict or in a resistant relationship. This isn’t the case. They are opposite, but they are also co arising and mutually dependent. Without one, there is not the other. Consequently, “In” and “Yo” are co generating and therefore “non-resistant.”

Finally, we have “San Gen,” the unity of Heaven, Earth, and Man. When the Way of Man is discordant with the Way of Heaven and the Way of Earth there is conflict, this is the Bu of greed, hatred and ignorance. When the Way of Man accords with the Way of Heaven and the Way of Earth there is no-resistance, and therefore no conflict. This is the state of “Bu is love.”

This time I will only put into romaji popularly known readings of the Japanese.

Aikido as Aikido Cont.

The noncompetitive way 争わざる道
争う emphasizes a feeling of battle, a lack of rules, and only 争う can escalate to physical violence. One can see that this isn’t an admonition against sports, but rather affirming that Aikido is not争う. Aikido is the non “feeling of battle” Way.

The non-resistance principle 無抵抗主義

Aikido is the Aiki 1, 2, and 3 (the non-resistance principle)

The invincible way 不敗の道

Aikido is the invincible Way, because, if there is no conflict, there is no defeat.

The way that extinguishes belligerence 闘争心消滅の道

Aikido is the Way that extinguishes belligerence, because, if there is no conflict there no “warlike” behavior that is possible.

The way of True Victory, Self Victory 正勝吾勝の道
Masa Katsu A Gatsu no Michi Aikido is the Way of True Victory, Self Victory, that is According the Way of Man (Self) with the the Way of Heaven and Earth, which is Unification of self and Universe. That is: “Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

The budō that is the Divine Martial Art that does not Kill 神武不殺の武道

Aikido is the Martial Way that is the Divine Bu that does not kill. That is, that which is mutually generating rather than mutually destructive.

The budō of living together 相生の武道
Aikido is the Martial Way of living together.

The budō that lets the opponent live 相手を生かす武道

相手 can mean opposition, but it can also mean a companion for life. So, here is another potential symbolic referent for In Yo. In Yo are opposites, but they also companions for life, since they are codependent and co arising. While it sounds hypocritical to use the word opponent, after saying, “there is no opponent in Aiki.” It is not. Aikido is the Martial Way that lets the opponent (the “other” which gives meaning to “self”) live.

The completely victorious way 完全勝利の道

Aikido is the Way of Complete Victory. That is, Aikido is the Way of victory for Self AND Other, victory for all, absolute victory as opposed to relative victory.

War is Love 武は愛也
Aikido is Bu is Love. Aikido is the one relationship where opposition mutually generates.

The budō of Misogi みそぎの武道

Aikido is the Martial Way that Purifies. The nature of the Way of Aiki is to purify any obstacles to the Way of the Unity of Heaven, Earth, Man. The obstacles are “eliminated” by being transformed into a vital part of the Union.  In Buddhist terms this would be the cleansing, or transformation, of hatred/greed (oppositional forces) and ignorance (the belief that duality is the “truth” of the absolute.)

The soul calming budō 鎮魂の武道

Chikon Kishin no Budo Aikdo is the Martial Way of Soul Calming. Human beings have four souls, when they are brought into balance or into unison with the Universe or Ichi Rei. This is stillness in motion, and motion in stillness.

Dōka: The divine work of ki calms the soul. God(s) of heaven and earth please guide us in the art of misogi.
気のみわざ 魂の鎮めや みそぎ技 導き給え天地の神

Budō that is prayer.
In a prayer for peace, pray for the happiness of all as if the world has been tied together with aiki; which was the founder’s purpose for building the Aiki Shrine in Iwama. The founder’s selfless prayer, morning noon and night. Even today the founder’s room is adorned with three photographs that are enshrined for worship: The Emperor Meiji (Meiji the Great in military dress), Taishō, and Emperor Shōwa in Japanese court dress. It is a prayer celebrating their imperial lives for the prosperity of Japan.

 
Aikido is Budo that is prayer. The ideal prayer is the “Thy Will be done prayer.” It is the giving of all of one’s heart, soul, mind, and might in love to the “highest kami.” The means, and the result, of this is Chikon Kishin, calming the soul and returning to the divine. The Divine Martial Way is the practice of the Way of Aiki, the Way of Aiki being to calm the spirit and return to an accordance with the “Highest Kami.” Therefore, Aikido is Budo that is prayer.

Personal opinion. Consider the ideas in The Book of Five Rings that are related to the divine spirit of the master swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi. In novels it says that Musashi was awakened by the priest Takuan, but the master swordsman of Hayashizaki Iaijutsu prayed at the Shinmei Shrine and awakened. The founder of Yōshin ryu prayed to Hachiman sama and had the inspiration of Yōshin ryu.

The idea here is that the “Truth” is available for all those that seek it. It may come in different packages, words, expressions, etc. but the truth that is THE Truth, all comes from the one source that is THE source of all and is therefore always available to all.

The founder studied under Ōmoto kyō teacher Deguchi Onisaburō and from deep study of “the way of the gods” and bujutsu training had the realization “war is love.” He preached the love of the great cosmos and the love of the created universe. He preached the mysterious influence of ichirei niki sangen shikon hachiriki that is the living foundation of the activity of Genkō Ōmioya Ōkami, the mysterious effect of the reverberation of the kotodama of the cosmos, and the original occult mystery of the cosmic creation of heaven and earth.

Ueshiba too sought the truth and explicated it in the words, expressions, and actions through which that truth came to him in. He also recognized that the truth that is THE Truth, comes from one source, the source of all.

Furthermore, for human salvation, humans are children of the kami; the cadet line of the kami. Humans are by nature kami. The three worlds of life, the afterlife and the divine, all things in flux through the endless cycle of rebirth, human existence living continuously without extinction, and the past, present, and future divinity existing together.

This points to the idea that all beings come from one source, and it is that fact that is the source of human salvation, from the beginning less beginning to the endless end

The kami protect us and guide us toward improvement and realization, unifying the divine and humankind. Confucius’ philosophy perceived unexplored truths and established the condition of imperturbable religiosity in the human spirit.
Kami, understood in terms of kotodama, symbolize Fire and Water which are understood to represent In Yo. Again, In Yo are the dualistic expression of the Universe. So, while Kami imply two, and the two grow exponentially, the two come from, and return to (find their original being in) the One. So, kami can be the various expressions of the one or, Kami as the One (source of all.)

Furthermore, he preached that all creation has the same origin. A snowflake and a huge boulder exhibit universal benevolence. There are no people created above others and no one is created below everyone else; the highest kami creates all things. The mysterious effect of all and everything as a singular spirit proclaims that there is nothing that is not dependent on the creation of the kami. All and everything is in the hand of the highest kami.

This may be difficult to understand, but for those raised, as Shirata was, in Omoto (Great Origin), Mikkyo (Mystery Schools: Shingon (True Word), Tendai) and Shugendo (The Way Mountain Esoteric Asceticism) it is quite natural. There is one source for all, and all come from one source. The one source gives rise to all, and all participate (whether, or not, they recognize that fact) in the one source.

Dōka

The beautiful shape of heaven and earth is a single household made by the lord.
美しきこの天地の御姿は主の創りし一家なりけり

 

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5 thoughts on “Part 4 of Shirata’s Essay: Aikido as Aikido cont.

  1. Hi Allen,

    this will take some thinking. The alliteration to musashi and yoshin ryu is interesting. Do you think shirata intended to put o-sensei and musashi and aikido and yoshin ryu on an “equal” footing ?

    fred

    Liked by 1 person

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